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Phasing Out OpenSUSE

Co-authored with G. Forbes

Moon



Summary: OpenSUSE is fading away as AttachMSFT is phased in

THE formerly vibrant Planet SUSE is usually very quiet these days, save for a few fun events here and there. Recently though, there have been a large amount of blurbs from Greece that have suddenly rushed in, such as this one. Thomas Thym has attempted to reassure everyone that "Strategy is alive". There are even some releases of OpenSUSE flavours/derivatives, such as a medical one. There is also an announcement for SUSE appliances for Fog Computing. This, however, does not relate directly to OpenSUSE per se.



As we have explained in recent posts, OpenSUSE has not received much assurance of a continued existence, unlike SUSE [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Jos Poortvliet, who has headed the project's community following the departure of Zonker, carries on the cheerleading. Nevertheless, his attempts at morale boosting can only go so far. Based on this announcement from Jos, "OpenSUSE Build Service" is no more because the Linux Foundation has taken charge; the "OpenSUSE" part (Novell/AttachMSFT trademark) will be dropped:

"The openSUSE Build Service Team has decided to rename its cutting-edge packaging- and distribution build technology to Open Build Service," Poortvliet explains. "The new name, while maintaining the well-known OBS acronym, signals its open and cross-distribution nature."


It is a good time to review what OpenSUSE actually is anymore. The basic recipe is YaST from SUSE and all sorts of customisations applied to default desktop environments. Outside of that, there is also some kernel development from Greg Kroah-Hartman (who had an important role in OpenSUSE), but this portion of Novell is pretty much irrelevant to SUSE itself. Kroah-Hartman himself acts as mentor for Linux projects rather than a SUSE developer:

I'm a Google Summer of Code mentor for a project to port Linux to a specific system on a chip that happens to be in a number of older game platforms. Here's one of these devices. I'm going to be in Taipei and Tokyo over the next few weeks, and it would be great if I could pick up one of these myself to help in the debugging effort of this project. Does anyone know of anywhere in either of those cities I might be able to get this device?


Incidentally, Sean Kerner has this new article titled "New Linux Kernel, New RHEL and New Boss for SUSE Linux". Kroah-Hartman's work will get applied to RHEL, among many other distributions, as well. Sean suggests some scepticism towards SUSE's future in Free software:

The new SUSE Linux business also apparently remains fully committed to open source as well as the continuity of its existing projects.


This is not true based on the actions and inactions taken by AttachMSFT thus far. No commitment was expressed by laying off the Mono developers, and AttachMSFT has not proclaimed any commitment to "OpenSUSE" as a project. AttachMSFT is determined to remain a proprietary software company by all indications.

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